A retroactive law is a law that criminalizes a past action that wasn’t a crime at the time. Known as “ex post facto” laws, they are strictly and unambiguously prohibited by Article I, Section 9 (for Congress) and Section 10 (for states) of our Constitution. They can be used to punish a person and/or to seize their property which is why such laws are banned. Progressives, however, see the Constitution as an obstacle to their agenda. I’ll look at one example of how they’re being used and then discuss the very slippery slope of ex post facto laws.
The state of California has passed some restrictive new gun laws. One bans the manufacture and sale of high capacity magazines; the other (SB1446) prohibits possession of such magazines (hence requires confiscation) that were legally purchased in the past. The constitutionality of the first law may be under debate everywhere but the second one is clearly unconstitutional. It’s a retroactive ban, therefore it’s a ex post facto law. Those who don’t submit to a mandatory “buyback” will be criminalized for what was a legal activity at the time of purchase. The term “buyback” itself is a misnomer. The government can’t buy back something it never owned. If the government asserts ownership of all private property it’s a communist government. Unless the government is paying full retail value for confiscated items it’s also theft. Obviously confiscation of items obtained illegally or used for criminal purposes is a different matter that doesn’t involve ex post facto laws.
OK, you don’t care about the Second Amendment, but let’s look at just how slippery a slope ex post facto laws against private property could become.
The EPA has issued increasingly strict tailpipe emission and gas mileage requirements for cars and other light vehicles. Tier I took affect in 1994, Tier 2 in 2004, and the Obama administration has approved even stricter mileage requirements in the future. The standards that took effect in 1994 and 2004 effectively banned the future sale of new vehicles that didn’t meet those standards but they didn’t ban the ownership of older vehicles. Suppose, however, that our progressive government, influenced by the socialist UN, decided to confiscate all vehicles that didn’t meet Tier 2 standards? Of course they’d pay owners some token sum for surrendering their means of transportation but it would impose the greatest hardship on those who could least afford it. Do they care? NO! Most politicians are rich. As I said once before, rich elitists will always live above the messes they cause for the masses.
You don’t think this could happen? Don’t make me say “I told you so” again! Over a year ago I predicted that we might someday see an environmental impact tax on meat. Now the UN is actively recommending such a tax and Denmark is considering one. Socialists are as relentless as ISIS when it comes to imposing their will on everyone.
The concept that private property that is obtained legally and not used for criminal purposes belongs to individuals, not the government, is fundamental to our freedom and our entire way of life. Don’t let socialists incrementally deprive us of that freedom.